Most small businesses think very hard about their images- often on how to get the best ones for cheap. When it comes to converting though, most people haven’t had the time to start thinking about which images work best. I have to admit, after running tests, I’m always shocked at how much small changes actually effect buying habits (especially because these tests tend to run me $90 just to get one step closer to learning something I assume someone already knows).
For example, did you know if you were presented with x-ray images of a brain, people immediately find the source more credible? (McCabe & Castel, 2008). When you use an image of a brain (especially an image from an MRI or fMRI), you’ll trigger associations with analytical thinking. Once that concept becomes activated, your visitors will develop a stronger appreciation for the rational benefits of converting (and they’ll also view your content to be more credible).
It turns out this doesn’t stop at a brain scan- but can be used to influence business style thinking. Kay et al. (2004) researchers found suitcases, fountain pens, and business dress lead people into a route of business thinking- making them more business minded- which caused people to behave more competitively. If your conversion sets people with a rational set of beliefs as to why they should make a purchase, than business style photos are a good route to take. Funny to me, they found they could inspire this same feeling using Asian males Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady (1999) , Kay et al., 2006 .
Body language also influences conversion- stances like crossing arms make people less likely to convert (Bull, 1987). It’s funny to think how common this pose is for stock images.
When it comes to beliefs on babies and conversions, babies have been one of the biggest head fakes in the last 10 years. Since I entered digital marketing all I can hear about is how effective babies have been- but the truth is babies are just as good as pictures of people lending no clear benefit. Marketers speculate they can make people who have kids more discriminatory with their spending- hurting conversion (Sherman, Haidt, & Coan, 2009). Baby debate still going on but I don’t think they are the miracle backdrop companies think they are.
There is a ton more recommendations- make sure people are looking at the form / product. People’s faces are effective, especially smiling faces. Avoid showing money (Kay et al., 2006). It breaks down even more into the target demographic’s desires- having models shot focusing on their bellies with models looking down into the lens are more effective for selling to women, while having a slightly downward angle shot of a woman is more effective to selling to men. I’m going to break these down into different concepts and see which ones are more effective. I’ve always been curious- red heads or blondes, who get better CTR and conversions?